Musically Dido is okay, especially Eyra Norman’s Belinda and the spirited chorales. But it could have been a piece of theatre magic, and wasn’t.
After the querulous, inward-looking tedium of her feminist polemic The Writer, Ella Hickson returns to interesting form with this curiosity, Anna.
Small Island is a terrific yarn, both romantic and tough, about history and Empire and sex and frustration, escape and hope and love and racism: about promises turned to dross and the great seas of misunderstanding that roll between people.
Five mice for White Pearl at the Royal Court Theatre because it’s different and clever and useful, and horribly good fun.
Savagely observed absurdity, blinding flashes of insight, profound yearning, sudden poetry singing clear notes from the cruel swamp of humanity. Orpheus Descending isn’t one of Tennessee Williams’ more familiar plays, but it has all the troubled master’s marks, glories and challenges.
Hopes for The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson couldn’t be higher: it is again built around truth – a 2016 dinner party where Boris and Marina Johnson entertained the Goves and Yevgeny Lebedev, starstruck owner of the London Standard.
Few other writers other than Vanbrugh simultaneously evoke quite the savage cynicism, torrential verbal wit and real anger of The Provoked Wife, this slightly alarming and ceaselessly entertaining piece about men, women, and social hypocrisies.
Beyond the enjoyable sketch-jokes, some of the collection assembled annually by the remarkable little INK festival in Suffolk are real, serious, heartfelt miniature dramas.
Frankly, I had qualms about Hugh Bonneville in the role of CS Lewis in Shadowlands: too handsome, too familiar in his evocations of dullish decent steadiness, but before many minutes in the chaffing Common Room scenes which open the play, I could see the point.
Howard Brenton’s new play Jude is a deliberate echo of Thomas Hardy’s darkest work, Jude the Obscure: an updated riff on his angry theme of how passionate genius in humble people is stifled and thwarted by society.